Even after my spin, my shoulders still feel like they’re ripping out of their sockets thanks to yesterday’s epic 4k long swim. So, knowing I had nowhere to be this afternoon I chose to stay put and participate in a little ‘active recovery’ a la yoga stretching to work out the kinks in my calves and shoulders while watching the snow pile up outside the studio window. This also gave me the opportunity to listen to a new album I’ve been meaning to check out, namely, ‘Amok’ by Atoms for Peace.
Atoms for Peace is an experimental rock and electronic super group formed in late 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The group consists of Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, and piano), Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich (keyboards, synthesizers, guitars), Joey Waronker of Beck and R.E.M. (drums) and Brazilian instrumentalist Mauro Refosco (percussion) of Forro in the Dark. This debut album became available for streaming on February 18, 2013, and was later released on February 25, 2013. Rolling Stone magazine rated it #15 on their ‘Top 50 Albums of 2013’ list, smack dab between the newest David Bowie snoozer ‘The Next Day’ and Drake’s ‘Nothing Was the Same’, so already I don’t have very high expectations.
And rightly so as it turns out, as my overall impression now after giving it a careful listen is this: meh. The first song ‘Before Your Very Eyes‘ starts the album out well enough but it all begins to downward slide from there into more of Thom Yorke’s personal wet dream. Sloppy. And given the breadth of musicians on this project I kind of expected more so I can’t help but be a little disappointed. Of course, this might also partly be due to the fact that only a few minutes ago I was listening to some classic James Brown funk and, so, immediately switching to this odd blend of live improvisation and studio mixology would be akin to attempting a complete 180° U-turn at, say, 300 km/h.